The week comes to an end with little fanfare in the absence of any major headlines. In economic news, manufacturing activity in the New York State region came in below expectations though the employment component increased. Preliminary March Consumer Sentiment came in at 87.8, beating estimates. Redfin reports that home sales slowed in February, up 0.6% year-over-year, the smallest annual increase since March 2012.
Zillow Research reports that rental prices, which cooled a bit in 2018, are now slowly inching higher. Nationally, median rents rose 2.4% or $34 year-over-year in February to $1,472 a month. The priciest rental market was San Jose, California at $3,547 in February while Pittsburgh was the lowest at $1,100. Zillow went on to report that home values nationally rose 7.2% in February 2019 from February 2018.
With the spring and summer driving season upon us, gas prices at the pumps are beginning to push higher. The national average price for a regular gallon of gas is at $2.54, up from $2.29 a month ago. Gas prices tend to rise this time of the year due in part to added costs needed to refine the costlier summer blend gas along with an uptick in demand. A year ago the price was $2.53 while the highest price recorded was $4.11 back in July 2008.